stress and relaxation

Our busy world

Today’s kids and teenagers often have such busy lives, what with after school clubs, weekend clubs and activities, plus school, not to mention time on the computer, X box and IPad!  If you have lots of homework on top of that, or an important exam, this can leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed, especially if things aren’t going so great with friends  at school, or if you are feeling bullied. This can lead to feelings of fear, tears, general irritability, or a feeling of not really being properly in your body, forgetting who you really are deep inside and feeling a bit like a busy robot. If any of these sound familiar, you probably have lost (to some extent) the sense of connection to yourself and that feeling of calm stillness inside yourself.

Create Some Space

At times like these it is especially important to create some space for yourself, just to be you. Maybe you already have something you do to relax. Perhaps you like to sit and stroke your cat, read, play sport or go on the swing at the park, (even teenagers like to do this sometimes!) If you realise that you haven’t had time on your own for a long time just to chill out then here are some ideas:-

  • You could spend time listening to some music that you find relaxing on your own, maybe just lying on your bed (with or without music) and staring up at the ceiling, thinking of nothing in particular.
  • You can move and dance by yourself in your room.  Shut the door no one else needs to know, if you’re embarrassed!
  • Use the abdominal breathing technique, (explained in the ‘can’t sleep’ section).
  • Exercise like swimming or running
  • Cuddling a favourite toy, or pet (not your goldfish!)
  • Meditation and mindfulness techniques
  • Singing and walking are good too.

But what’s most important is that you do something which you especially enjoy and just take some time out to relax and give yourself some space.

You might think that being on the computer is your way of relaxing, in a way it is if it’s something you enjoy, but it is not allowing your mind to properly relax, because computers screens are so busy and hectic, it’s not  getting away from the fast busy pace of life in the same way as some of these other ways of relaxing.

Quick stress buster

Sometimes you might be feeling stressed in a situation but you can’t take the time out to relax, perhaps someone is shouting at you, or you are anxious about an exam you are about to take. Here’s what can you do that is quick and easy to do and no one will know you are doing it.

1. Notice your breath:  Just become aware of the feeling of the breath coming in and out of your nose, think about how it feels and focus on that for a while. If you like you can move the focus to your belly and feel the movement of your belly as the air comes in and as it goes out again. This technique actually  has a physical effect on your body by slowing down the heart rate and releasing hormones that will help you to relax. It also stops you focusing so much on the thing which you were worried about!

relaxation techniques

2. Talk to someone you trust: Don’t forget that it usually feels good to talk to someone you trust, if you are feeling really stressed and upset. This could be a friend, a favourite teacher, carer or someone in your family. If things seem really bad, there’s always or similar organisations that have the skills to help and support with your worries.

Sometimes just telling someone who’s kind and who listens well is enough, feeling listened to is a good feeling and who knows they might even be able to help you too, or say something that might make you feel better.

Sometimes it’s good to have a simple technique which you can always use, such as counting to 10, or breathing slowly and calmly. Scientists have found that breathing slowly actually helps to calm down the ‘fight or flight’ response of the nervous system to stress (called the Sympathetic nervous system) and allow the body to switch into the Parasympathetic nervous system (which is like the bodies resting state calm and relaxed) instead, which helps the body to calm down, it slows your heart rate and helps you to feel more relaxed. It’s very simple to do, easy to remember and works quickly.

Which technique you use to relax and unwind doesn’t matter (it’s up to you), as long as you do something to help yourself feel better. You will be grateful that you took the time to unwind and reconnect with the stillness within yourself, as you’ll find that difficulties in life are much easier to deal with in a calm way.

All SMART Coaching (Stress Management And Relaxation Techniques) are designed to provide excellent and relevant quality well-being and mindfulness training, mindfulness training in schools or with young minds and intuition, insight mindfulness training across all sectors.